MORE than 103,000 journeys were made by racegoers to and from The Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse at the weekend, thanks to a dedicated timetable that saw a seven-and-a-half-minute service rail service.

According to Merseyrail, more than 8,500 customers an hour were transported 'quickly and safely' at the busiest times during the three-day festival, thanks to eight car trains being used at the Grand National Festival for the first time ever.

Additional staff supported customers at the main stations. They gave away 5,000 pairs of Merseyrail flip flops and hosted live music and entertainment for customers at Moorfields, Liverpool Central and Aintree stations.

Three charities held collections at Merseyrail stations during the three-day festival, Woodlands Hospice, Centre 56 and Blackburne House, helping raise thousands of pounds for these good causes.

Commenting on X (formerly known as Twitter), @dottyslipper said: "Literally love the Merseyrail experience on Grand National Day. Highlight of my day!"

Shelagh Kelly Redmond commented on Facebook: "Well done to everyone at Merseyrail. Great organising with so many people."

Jacqui Parkinson said: "I was at Central station on Friday morning taking my grandson to Southport, the atmosphere at the station was brilliant, well done Merseyrail, so well organised.”

Martin Grice commented: "Very well organised, trains reliable, plenty of friendly, helpful staff and great entertainment.

"Such a great advert for the city with so many people having a positive experience visiting the area. The welcome passengers get on race days means Merseyrail is very much part of the Grand National experience.”

Neil Grabham, Merseyrail's managing director, said: "It's always an honour to work with Aintree Racecourse and The Jockey Club to support the Grand National Festival.

"We’re really proud of the fantastic customer service we have delivered for the 2024 Grand National Festival.

"There is a huge amount of preparation work that goes into providing our special service to The Grand National Festival each year. We work incredibly closely with colleagues at Network Rail, British Transport Police, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Stadler, Carlisle Security and The Jockey Club to ensure the best travel experience we can for racegoers."

“We have received some lovely feedback from visitors to the region who were really impressed with Merseyrail. You can rest assured that we will be ready to support the Grand National Festival in 2025.”

Phil James, Network Rail's North West route director, said: "I hope our passengers had a fantastic time at the Grand National. It was a pleasure to work with Merseyrail to make sure everyone could travel safely to Aintree.

"Our maintenance team in Liverpool carried out special drone inspections along the route to make sure we could provide a reliable service in advance of the Grand National festival. We also had extra response teams ready to go to address any issues as soon as possible.

"I’m pleased to say that passengers were kept safely on the move to and from Aintree throughout the three days."